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Be wary, your insurance agent is not your friend

When you obtained your auto insurance policy here in Wyoming, your insurance agent probably made sure to be friendly, caring and compassionate. You more than likely received assurances from the agent that the company cares about you and your family. You are given the impression that the company will be there when needed -- in exchange for your monthly premiums.

When push comes to shove and you need to file a claim after an accident, don't be fooled by words of concern and friendly conversations. The insurance agent is actually doing what he or she can in order to keep from paying you what your claim is worth.

Be careful what you say and do

Your interactions with the insurance company from this point forward could either help or hurt your claim. For instance, be careful to avoid or not do the following, which could do more harm than good for you and your future:

  • Avoid ignoring the time limits in your insurance policy since you may only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit in connection with a particular incident. If you get close to that time limit and your claim is not yet resolved to your satisfaction, you may need to file a lawsuit in order to preserve your right to do so.
  • Don't forget to provide the insurance company with a complete proof of loss within the time limit specified in your policy.
  • If you don't have a full understanding of your coverage, avoid giving a written or recorded statement to the insurance company until you do. Anything you say could come back to haunt you and keep you from receiving the full amount of compensation you deserve.
  • Don't accept the first settlement offered to you. More than likely, it will not reflect the true value of your claim.
  • Don't sign any waivers or releases without fully understanding what you are waiving and releasing.
  • Don't accept a check that includes the words "final payment" on it until you are satisfied that you have received a fair amount for your losses.

Your insurance policy created a contract between you and the insurance company. If your premiums are up to date, you are entitled to receive what the company promised to you in your policy. However, that does not mean that your insurance company will automatically fulfill its part of the contract on its own. More than likely, it will be up to you to make sure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under your policy.

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